Assessment of traffic-related air pollution in two street canyons in Paris: Implications for exposure studies

S. Vardoulakis, N. Gonzalez-Flesca, B. E.A. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


The small-scale spatial variability of air pollution observed in urban areas has created concern about the representativeness of measurements used in exposure studies. It is suspected that limit values for traffic-related pollutants may be exceeded near busy streets, although respected at urban background sites. In order to assess spatial concentration gradients and identify weather conditions that might induce air pollution episodes in urban areas, different sampling and modelling techniques were studied.Two intensive monitoring campaigns were carried out in typical street canyons in Paris during winter and summer. Steep cross-road and vertical concentration gradients were observed within the canyons, in addition to large differences between roadside and background levels. Low winds and winds parallel to the street axis were identified as the worst dispersion conditions. The correlation between the measured compounds gave an insight into their sources and fate. An empirical relationship between CO and benzene was established. Two relatively simple mathematical models and an algorithm describing vertical pollutant dispersion were used. The combination of monitoring and modelling techniques proposed in this study can be seen as a reliable and cost-effective method for assessing air quality in urban micro-environments. These findings may have important implications in designing monitoring studies to support investigation on the health effects of traffic-related air pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1039
Number of pages15
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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